BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Yes, it’s not a typo, nor is it her password. Her name really is Jeongeun6 Lee, but the most important number associated with her Friday is the “6” that says how far under par she is after two rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by USGA.
Lee matched her opening-round 69 at Trump National, under murky skies and in a persistent drizzle, to take the morning-wave lead at 138 after 36 holes. Shanshan Feng, also at six-under, and Amy Yang, five-under, had afternoon tee times.
Carlota Ciganda, who got up before dawn to hit three shots to finish off a 69, got to six under at one point but finished at four-under par, 140 after a 71. Marina Alex, a Jersey girl from Wayne, N.J., 40 miles away, is at 141.
“It’s been a long 24 hours,” Ciganda said. “It was tough mentally.” Her secret weapon is Terry McNamara, long-time caddie for 10-time major winner Annika Sorenstam who has worked for Carlota since last spring.
Despite overnight rain, play resumed as scheduled Friday morning after Thursday’s round was halted first by a storm and then by darkness and the first round was completed about 8:30 a.m. Even more remarkably, the second round began only 15 minutes behind its regular schedule.
Jeongeun6 Lee has the 6 in her name because there are multiple players in South Korea with the same name and they use numbers to differentiate themselves. She’s 21, was Korean LPGA rookie of the year in 2016 and is No. 3 on this year’s KLPGA money list. Also in the field is JeongEun5 Lee, who is an LPGA member with five victories on the KLPGA.
“The 6 was added to my name because there are six players on the KLPGA with the same name and I was the last one,” Lee said through a translator. “I know 5, she’s on the LPGA.” Lee’s fan club is appropriately called Lucky 6.
How does Lee get it done? She doesn’t hit the ball very far – outside the top 100 in the field so far, but is very accurate, hitting 24 of 28 fairways. She also makes putts, needing only 55 over the first 36 holes.
“With the rain, I was able to stop the ball on the green, which made me more comfortable,” Lee said.
Gaby Lopez, who was four under at one point Thursday, finished the first round at 70 then dissolved into an 81, sending her home for the weekend along with Brittany Lincicome, Paula Creamer, Jiyai Shin and Morgan Pressel. Michelle Wie withdrew Friday morning because of a sore right shoulder.
Angela Stanford, who lost a U.S. Women’s Open playoff to Hilary Lunke in 2003, completed 36 holes at two-under par. Stanford had a unique perspective on the impending arrival of President Trump, who owns thegolf course.
“I secretly want to be a Secret Service agent,” she said. “So I'm kind of hoping to see one at some point. They are hard to find. But it's pretty cool. You have Secret Service at your major golf tournament.”Major championships are all about contending with major challenges. And so far, the U.S. Women’s Open has thrown just about everything imaginable at the players, from weather and early wake-up calls to a sitting president watching them play. And it’s not even the weekend yet.